Wednesday, January 10, 2024

The Plot Thickens in the Fani Willis Corruption Allegations


AP Photo/John Bazemore, File

These Fani Willis allegations are getting crazier by the day. By now, I'm sure you've read Athena Thorne's intrepid report on the accusations that Willis hired an attorney with whom she is supposedly carrying on an extramarital affair as a special prosecutor in the Trump RICO case, despite his lack of qualifications with that type of litigation. The special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, also allegedly met with White House representatives about the case.

I penned a follow-up piece about another Willis hire, Pallavi Bailey, who serves as the DA's spokeswoman. She is married to Charlie Bailey, who ran for lieutenant governor and lost in 2022. Willis hired Pallavi Bailey and actively campaigned for Charlie Bailey while using the Trump grand jury to target Burt Jones, his rival in the lieutenant governor's race. Targeting Jones led a judge to bar Willis from investigating him due to the conflict of interest.

But now the plot thickens for the beleaguered prosecutor, who probably just wants to be left alone so she can take Trump down and profit off that achievement. The estranged wife of Willis' alleged sneaky link wants her to testify in their divorce proceedings.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "a process server said he showed up at Willis’s office in Atlanta on Monday morning with a subpoena seeking her testimony in the Cobb County divorce case of Nathan Wade, a lawyer she hired as a special prosecutor in the Trump case, and his wife, Joycelyn Wade. The process server said he left the subpoena, filed by Joycelyn Wade’s lawyer, with Willis’s executive assistant."

[Note: I've seen Mrs. Wade's name spelled as "Joycelyn" and "Jocelyn," but I can't say with confidence which spelling is correct.]

The subpoena reportedly arrived at Willis' office mere hours before attorney Ashleigh Merchant filed the motion to dismiss the RICO case over Willis' alleged conflicts of interest. 

"Merchant said sealed records from the divorce case, viewed before the court limited access to the documents, substantiate her claims. She also asked the judge in that case to unseal the records," the WSJ adds.

One Atlanta defense attorney said that the accusations could mean that Willis could be in violation of the State Bar of Georgia, while a local former prosecutor says that these allegations could damage the prosecution of Trump and his co-defendants.

“Everything you do must be done according to the law,” former DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Everyone who works on a case like this must conduct themselves at the highest professional level. Otherwise, you can become the issue, and that can derail your case.”

What's especially funny about the whole cloud of allegations hanging over Willis is that she defeated her predecessor, Paul Howard, in a 2020 runoff election because Howard was dealing with corruption charges of his own.

"Howard failed to disclose two things required of elected officials: his position of trust in an outside organization and his outside or secondary employment," WSB reported at the time. He paid a fine, but the charges cost him his job. Howard was also acquitted of sexual harassment charges last year.

Now Willis is facing a litany of accusations that not only could damage her case against Trump but could also hurt her reputation for years to come. It's hard not to ask whether all of this is worth her quixotic attempts to take down a once and potentially future president.